The rise and rise of personal partisanship in the USA, by the Z-Man.
In America, where the Marxist sense of class identity has never taken hold, party affiliation was the closest we had to partisanship through the Cold War. One would support a party out of family tradition or maybe regional affiliation, even when the platform of the party did not directly appeal to your interests. Loyal Democrats, for example, would argue that the party was best for the country as a whole. It was the blend of tradition, objectivity and republican virtue.
This is no longer the case in America. Partisanship is now much closer to the concept Lenin had in mind. The anti-Trump people, for example, hate Trump for entirely partisan reasons. …
If we are to find an American Lenin, it is much closer to our time. The best candidate would have to be Bill Clinton. It was in his administration that objectivity was dispatched from public discourse. He and his people shamelessly lied, and their media partners greedily repeated the lies. A man willing to debate the definition of the word “is” in a deposition is not a man who accepts the concept of truth. The only thing that mattered to the Clintons was what was good for them. …
This hyper-personal, hyper-partisanship was not a natural element in the Bush machine, but it was imposed on them. The whole Bush as Hitler thing was a direct effort by the Left to make their political differences with the Bush administration about the personality of Bush and his people. The Left still hates Dick Cheney, even though he has been out of politics for a dozen years. Of course, Obama is the David Koresh of the cult of anti-racism and anti-whiteness.
Now, the problem with the Lenin analogy, and any parallels drawn between this age and the Bolsheviks, is that this form of partisanship evolved within popular government, rather than in opposition to authoritarianism. An “us against them” mentality is a necessary component to revolution. American hyper-partisanship did not evolve to topple power or even to promote an alternative to power. It evolved among the power elite as a way to solidify their power.
Personal partisanship is the natural consequence of popular government. The Greeks did not have parties, they had personalities. Factions were labeled the “followers of” some notable politician. In the Roman Republic a similar system existed. Factions within the Senate were built around people. As America has slowly abandoned the republican political culture in favor of democratic culture, it is inevitable that factionalism would give way to personal partisanship.
I wonder if it will catch on elsewhere in the West?